WiFi warning for East Lothian as massive naval war games could knock out signal

Broadband customers in East Lothian have been warned they could lose their WiFi signal as a major naval exercise takes place off the Scottish coast.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 12:30 pm

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Customers of Lothian Broadband have been told they could face disruption over the next two weeks as a huge flotilla takes part in a NATO exercise.

An email sent out by the firm warns that some naval equipment/operations can interfere with its fixed wireless network.

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The Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Albion arrivng on the Forth: Picture by LPhot Pepe Hogan.

Australia will join Nato nations the UK, the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland in taking part with 34 naval units.

The exercises will mirror a broad range of crisis and conflict situations.

HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s fleet flagship at the centre of the Carrier Support Group, will deploy shortly after the completion of Strike Warrior.

The £3 billion warship, with eight RAF and 10 US Marine Corps F35B stealth fighter jets on board, will depart for Asia accompanied by six Royal Navy ships, a submarine, 14 naval helicopters and a company of Royal Marines.

Customers of Lothian Broadband were told in the letter: “The exercise is due to take place between May 8 and 22.

“From previous experience, the most vulnerable timings are one to two days before and one to two days following the exercise dates, as vessels travel to and from the exercise locations.”

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Lothian Broadband, which was established in 2015 to provide wireless services to rural communities in East Lothian and Midlothian, is believed to currently provide services to 1,800 homes in the areas.

Last year, the firm expanded by acquiring Highland Wireless and its 4,000 properties as it looks to expand its footprint in Scotland.

The company told its local customers it would be increasing its support staff cover during the military exercise to deal with any issues which come up.

It said: “We have been working closely with Ofcom in recent days (who in turn liaise with the MoD on our behalf) to seek to minimize this impact as far as possible.

“We will also introduce some additional specific network monitoring and increase our level of support cover over this period to manage any interference that may arise.”

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